A live performance of Air Loom in one of the finest acoustics in the UK, the studio in which Richard Burton made his 1963 record of Dylan Thomas’ Under Milk Wood.
Air Loom is a new album of dreamlike music, distilling a lifetime’s work with ancient instruments and extraordinary electroacoustic techniques (due for release 30 March 2019). In April, I’ll be touring the UK, performing Air Loom live with vocalist Sarah Gabriel and percussionist Stephen Hiscock.
Centre stage is the clavisimbalum, a sonorous, fourteenth-century cousin of the harpsichord. Its plucked, soft iron strings ring with a rich, dark reverberance – a sound that hails from Eastern European folk and the Renaissance court. To this we’ll be adding voices in close harmony, recorder, theremin, percussion and robotic carillon, an instrument I’ve devised and built to play bells at inhuman speeds, creating a haze of delicate, metallic sound. As we play, sounds are deftly contorted, fragmented and recombined using bespoke electronic and digital techniques. My own variant of the loop pedal stretches every strand of sound subtly as it plays, transforming the most consonant music into something more angular as it makes beguilling musical collisions.
Air Loom is the follow-up to 2017 album Ealing Feeder: “Music possessed of an eerie instability…a whole universe unto itself brimming with fresh propositions and new directions…a shimmering minimalist masterpiece’ (Wire Magazine, May 2017).